Microsoft launches new accessibility tools and accessories for devs

The company has debuted improved accessibility feature tags, adaptive accessories, and more.

Microsoft has launched new tools to help Xbox and PC developers make their games more accessible.

Speaking at the Microsoft Ability Summit, Microsoft's CVP of game creator experience and ecosystem, Sarah Bond, explained Xbox developers can now take advantage of updated Accessibility Feature Tags that make it easier for players with disabilities to determine which games are right for them.

Although Accessibility Feature Tags were first unveiled last year, improvements have been made to allow players to search and then filter tags, letting them to more efficiently locate their favorite titles.

The Xbox Accessibility Guidelines (XAGs) have also been updated to include information on mental health, motion sickness, and text sizing based on community and developer feedback.

Beyond that, a Gaming Accessibility Resource Hub is due to be launched later this month, and according to Microsoft will provide an "extensive resource of gaming accessibility guidance, training, talks, and popular game engines to help game creators in all stages of their game's accessibility."

Additionally, Microsoft has debuted a new slate of adaptive accessories that have been designed in partnership with the disabled community and can be used to make apps and software more accessible.

Due to launch this fall, Microsoft's adaptive accessories roster includes a specialized adaptive mouse that can be customized with a mouse tail, thumb support, or 3D printed tails.

There's also an adaptive hub that can wirelessly pair with up to four adaptive buttons, which can be easily customized using different button toppers -- including a d-pad, joystick, dual button, or 3D printed toppers -- to facilitate a wide range of inputs.

"Each piece is designed in partnership with the disability community to empower people who may have difficulty using a traditional mouse and keyboard to create their ideal setup, increase productivity, and use their favorite apps more effectively," said Microsoft.

"A traditional mouse and keyboard may pose obstacles for someone with limit mobility. These adaptive accessories can perform a variety of functions, thereby alleviating a pain point for those who find it challenging to get the most out of their PC. The Microsoft adaptive accessories have three main components that empower you to configure, 3D print, and customize your own mouse, keyboard inputs, and shortcuts in ways that work best for your specific needs."

You learn more about Microsoft's approach to building inclusive technology on the official company blog.

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